The Finance Authority Of New Orleans’ Executive Director St. Julien To Retire

NEW ORLEANS – The Finance Authority of New Orleans (FANO) Board of Trustees announced that its Executive Director Mtumishi St. Julien, JD, MBA, has decided to retire in July.

         St. Julien’s decision to retire will bring to a close a 25-year career of strong leadership as an affordable housing advocate and a continuous public servant to the people and the City of New Orleans.

         Gizelle Johnson-Banks, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees said, “The Board is truly grateful for Mr. St. Julien’s innumerable contributions and his distinguished tenure as executive director. Mr. St. Julien has never wavered in his commitment to the The Finance Authority’s primary mission of providing affordable housing for Orleans Parish citizens over his 25 years of the organizations’ 38-year history. Mr. St. Julien has led this organization through challenging times, market fluctuations and recovery from one of the country’s worst catastrophes, Hurricane Katrina.”

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         St. Julien, in recent remarks to the board said, “Homeownership is the foundation for wealth building and economic stability in our community. It has been a privilege to dedicate my life’s work to helping more than 3,200 Orleans Parish families become homeowners. The American Dream of homeownership continues to be an important dream for most Americans. I feel a sense of accomplishment each time someone tells me their first home was financed using bond money from mortgage revenue bonds that The Finance Authority has issued.”

         During St. Julien’s tenure at The Finance Authority, he was responsible for issuing more than $300 million in mortgage revenue bonds, oversaw the issuance of $35 million in capital improvement financing for Xavier University, the $13 million financing of the 236-unit Willows Apartments, the $12.5 million financing for the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership Project mixed-use senior housing and commercial development at Martin Luther King and O. C. Haley Boulevards and administered $27 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant funds for soft second mortgage loans.

         Alden J. McDonald, President and CEO of Liberty Bank and Trust said, “Over the course of his career, Mtumishi St. Julien has provided leadership and inspiration for the cause of affordable housing in New Orleans. He has been an innovator and has created practical financing solutions to give people in our community the opportunity to own homes and build wealth. Your passion for our people to live to their fullest potential will be missed.”

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         In addition to guiding tax exempt bond programs to help homebuyers, St. Julien also became an innovator in expanding affordable housing financing opportunities as one of the first housing finance agency leaders to demonstrate the effectiveness of offering down payment and closing cost assistance to increase homeownership. Through a program called The Impact Neighborhood Strategy, St. Julien, in partnership with the City of New Orleans, helped local banks get directly involved in neighborhood redevelopment. He was the first housing finance agency head in the country to increase the availability of bond financing through the refinancing structure of bond prepayments, called 'recycling'. The strategy became very important to housing finance agencies throughout the country in times when the volume capacity to issue bonds was limited. St. Julien also successfully petitioned HUD and the U.S. Treasury to allow The Finance Authority to apply tax exempt bond targeted area rules to the entire city of New Orleans, thus providing opportunity for more citizens to become eligible for low interest mortgage loans produced through tax exempt bonds.

         St. Julien has also served on several national housing boards such as the Fannie Mae Housing Impact Advisory Board and the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council. He has been a long-term board member and past president of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA). In 2000, he co-authored NALHFA’s first bond finance reference book, Bonds for Beginners: An Instructional Guide to the Key Concepts of Tax-Exempt Housing Bond Finance, which is still used as a key resource for new staff and board members of housing finance agencies nationwide.

         “When Mr. St. Julien arrived at the Finance Authority of New Orleans 25 years ago, it was an agency in disarray, with poor financials, low productivity and a horrible reputation,” said Guy Williams, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company. “He turned the agency around in short order. He now leaves one of the most productive, financially stable and effective government organizations in New Orleans. I will miss him. His compassion, consensus building, and financial creativity have served our city well.”

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         The Finance Authority of New Orleans is currently offering a bond program that provides down payment and closing cost assistance grants for up to 4 percent of the first mortgage amount to eligible homebuyers with annual incomes up to $84,000 when borrowers choose to use a 30-year fixed rate FHA approved mortgage loan or incomes up to $99,000 if borrowers choose a Freddie Mac HFA Advantage approved mortgage loan.

         The Board of Trustees will conduct a search to choose St. Julien’s successor, advertising the position regionally and nationally this month.

         The Finance Authority of New Orleans is a public trust created by the City Council of New Orleans in 1978 under the provisions of the Louisiana Public Trust Code. Since 1978, The Finance Authority has issued more than $600,000,000 of mortgage revenue bonds. Proceeds from these bond issues and The Authority’s other loan assistance programs have been used to finance more than 7500 new homeowners in the city of New Orleans. In addition to financing home mortgages, The Finance Authority provides tax-exempt bond financing for public facilities, facilities owned by non-profits, multi-family housing and all forms of community & economic development. The Finance Authority programs are authorized by the New Orleans City Council.

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